The Impact of Climate Change on Your Health and Well-being. - Seeker's Thoughts

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The Impact of Climate Change on Your Health and Well-being.

The Impact of Climate Change on Your Health and Well-Being


The American Psychiatric Association recognizes climate change as an increasing public health risk that threatens mental wellbeing. Psychiatrists can help by supporting patients, communities and organizations.

Climate Change brings more floods and droughts , and result in injuries, illness and even deaths, and it has economic and emotional strain on people.  Climate change also leads to more wildlife files, and the air pollution caused by wildfires or heatwaves may aggravate asthmatic symptoms as well as allergies or respiratory illnesses that have previously existed.


1. Heat


Climate change exacerbates existing health threats while simultaneously creating new ones, and its harmfulness to any individual depends on three elements. Their exposure (how often and for how long an individual is exposed), their sensitivity (how much it affects them) and adaptive capacity (whether they can adapt, take advantage or respond effectively to climate risk). Together these components determine whether climate change harms an individual.


Heat-Related Illness and Death

Climate changes have increased temperatures across the globe and heat waves have become more frequent, placing many at risk from exposure to extreme heat. Overexposure can cause heart and brain disease as well as respiratory conditions like asthma. Vulnerable populations include elderly adults, children and those living in urban settings where temperatures tend to be warmer than their surroundings (known as "urban heat island effect").

Warmer temperatures are increasing allergy seasons and severity for those living with hay fever or asthma, creating difficulties for these children in keeping themselves healthy in an ever-evolving world. Our Climate Change and Allergies guide can help parents understand how climate change is influencing allergies in order to keep your child as healthy as possible in this ever-evolving climate.

People with limited resources are at greater risk from climate change hazards like flooding, drought and air pollution causing immediate or long-term mental health effects from flooding, drought or air pollution - including anxiety depression post traumatic stress disorder and even suicidal ideation. They are vulnerable to such threats because they lack personal and community resources necessary for dealing with their effects.


2. Flooding


Human-caused greenhouse gases are heating up our planet, raising temperatures while also speeding evaporation from land and sea, increasing atmospheric moisture holding capacity, leading to more rainstorms with intense downpours - some experts even predict an increase in Category 4/5 hurricanes as climate change unfolds.

A warmer atmosphere also results in more intense and frequent extreme weather events, including floods and droughts, that threaten health directly by polluting water with bacteria, parasites and chemicals; they may cause injuries, deaths and displacement as well. Furthermore, such events may indirectly harm health by increasing stress-taking behavior, diminishing economic opportunities and worsening air quality; also negatively affecting survival, distribution, and infectivity of disease-carrying mosquitos.

Heat waves increase the risk of heart attacks and respiratory disease mortality, wildfires release harmful air pollutants into the atmosphere, while flooding can overwhelm water treatment systems, potentially exposing people to toxic contaminants.

Furthermore, extreme and frequent climate events can wreak havoc on mental health by increasing distress, anxiety and depression - particularly for disadvantaged groups such as children, the elderly, minorities or the poor.

Climate change threatens many people's health in several ways, from extreme temperatures and humidity, poor air quality and flooding, as well as changes to disease-carrying insects' survival and spread. Many of these risks affect vulnerable communities that lack resources to adapt or cope. These communities often already struggle to meet basic needs like accessing clean water or energy-efficient cooling systems - something CDC research reveals is true of many communities affected by climate change. As part of their work to better protect these communities, CDC researchers are investigating ways that could better protect these communities against these risks - so far.


3. Water


Water is essential to health, yet climate change poses numerous threats to it. Rising air temperatures lead to more water evaporation from land and sea surfaces resulting in flooding; additionally, due to more humid air containing more moisture vapour than previously held within, heavy rainstorms that cause flooding are more likely to intensify than in previous times.

The ocean is one of Earth's primary carbon sinks, absorbing much of the excess heat and energy released by human-caused global warming. As extra heat accumulates in the ocean's waters, changing their water cycle resulting in effects like melting ice caps, sea-level rise, marine heatwaves and acidification of its waters.

Due to climate change, accessing clean drinking water is increasingly a concern in many regions. Treating and transporting this liquid requires vast amounts of energy generated primarily through burning fossil fuels which produces greenhouse gas emissions that affect local air quality by increasing exposure to pollutants while exacerbating asthma or other respiratory illnesses.

Although climate change threatens us all, certain groups are especially susceptible. This includes children and the elderly; people living with preexisting mental illness; agricultural workers and indigenous communities who depend on natural resources for livelihood.

As climate change progresses, its consequences will have an effect on everything we depend upon and value, from food supplies and transportation systems to ecosystems, wildlife habitats and ourselves. Those most at risk from its changes are those who are least able to adjust; this includes regions with lower economic development levels, limited English proficiency among immigrants or immigrant populations as well as indigenous groups or marginalized social groups as well as rural dwellers who cannot adapt as easily.


4. Mosquitoes


Mosquitoes and other biting insects transmit some of the world's deadliest infectious diseases, including malaria, dengue fever, chikungunya and Zika. Economic development and lower temperatures have long protected wealthy countries from mosquito-borne infections; however climate change could change this.

Researchers have discovered that warmer temperatures increase mosquito breeding, endurance and transmission rates of pathogens -- all contributing to their ability to spread mosquito-borne diseases. Each mosquito species has an optimal temperature at which its reproduction rates and rates of transmission decline; as global temperatures continue to increase above this threshold level, controlling outbreaks becomes harder.

Researchers from the University of Bath and China Agricultural University conducted a joint study, finding that higher temperatures and atmospheric CO2 accelerate mosquito speciation or evolution. While their work should be taken with a grain of salt, as other factors like population density and disease-carrying birds also impact transmission rates of mosquitos.

Some individuals are particularly at risk from climate health risks, including those with preexisting medical conditions and taking medications which make it hard for them to regulate body heat. Climate change poses indirect threats to vulnerable populations' health through sea-level rise, changes in precipitation patterns, flooding and drought events, among other effects. Warmer temperatures and shifting weather patterns may worsen air pollution levels, leading to respiratory and cardiovascular health impacts as well as impacting allergens such as ragweed pollen. Climate change will increase both extreme heat events as well as shift the seasonal onset of mosquito-borne diseases.


5. Air


Climate change negatively impacts air quality, leading to asthma attacks and other respiratory conditions such as chronic coughs. Climate change-linked pollutants include particulate matter, ozone, and black carbon (produced by burning fossil fuels).

Warmer temperatures and changing weather patterns contribute to more air pollution, particularly during heat waves when high pressure systems create stagnant air that concentrates airborne contaminants near the ground. Wildfire smoke and longer pollen seasons all negatively impact air quality as well.

Climate change has already compounded many health threats to humanity and may exacerbate them further as the Earth heats. Climate change also shifts disease-carrying ticks and mosquitoes such as those that transmit Lyme Disease, West Nile Virus, Dengue Fever, Zika virus or Malaria into new regions.

Environment-related hazards affect us all, but some groups will be especially susceptible. This includes low-income communities, communities of color, limited English proficiency and immigrant groups as well as children and pregnant women, the elderly, people living with preexisting mental illnesses as well as vulnerable occupational groups.

Climate change and air pollution can be addressed in many ways, including limiting fossil fuel usage. According to an estimate by the National Research Council, cutting emissions by 50% over 50 years would prevent an estimated 4.5 million premature deaths, 1.4 million hospitalizations/ER visits, 300 Million lost workdays due to dementia cases, 440 Million tons in crop losses nationwide as well as co-benefits like improved air quality and reduced cardiovascular disease / diabetes cases.

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